My desire to be a music journalist is nothing new. Once upon a time, aged 13-17, I kept a scrapbook of concerts that I attended. However, not realising just how many I would end up going to, it wasn’t updated very often. Still, it is a documentation of how my relationship with live music began. In this series, I will brush off the dust and transcribe these old diary entries (with emphasis on ‘diary’ as they aren’t reviews) in all their flawed glory.
I got a bit of ridicule for attending this concert, as aged 16, I was in a transition period between trying to stay cool as a teen, and becoming an adult, by which point I could look back with nostalgia, and attend the shows for giggles. And giggles in abundance I got from Electric Six. This was the final entry.
It is now 2017, and they have not since come back to Portsmouth. However, they will be in Southampton at the end of the year, and have my ticket already!
ELECTRIC SIX (Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms, 13/06/2007)
This was a fantastic show. This show will stay with me not only because of the main act, but because of the support. Kid Carpet was a solo performer who when he came out I assumed was a member of the road crew as he set up equipment. Then the microphone turned on and he gave what was one of the most hilariously ridiculous performances I have ever seen. His instruments consisted a children’s toys. He knew how to win over the crowd. Starting with a gormless “Hello. I’m Kid Carpet and I’ve come from Bristol”, by the end he had the audience hanging on every word.
Kid Carpet: “Where am I from?”
Audience: “BRISTOL! BRISTOL!”
(NOTE: I would go on to see Kid Carpet again at a solo show at Southampton Joiners, though that didn’t have the big audience that Electric Six had, so the atmosphere wasn’t quite the same.)
Dick Valentine is a great, if sweaty showman. They were promoting the Amsterdam album, so they played tracks such as ‘You Buy the Drugs’. However, most people had come for the debut album Fire. These were played to the crowd’s relief, as the band would never get away without playing ‘Dance Commander’, ‘Danger! High Voltage’ and ‘Gay Bar’. Other highlights were ‘Improper Dancing’, which included an acapella interlude (a review of another show says that it was INXS’ ‘Tear Us Apart’) and a monumental performance of ‘Synthesizer’. Why was it monumental? The synth player was ill, so a unique version performed without any of the titular synth at all. Unusually, Dick claims that this was how it was originally written.
(NOTE: “Synth player”? I seem not to have discovered the word ‘keyboardist’ yet.)
They didn’t play their cover of Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’, because they either hate it or because UK press destroyed it. Probably a bit of both. Dick made a false claim that the show would be two-and-a-half hours long, which got everybody’s hopes up. Liar! Though by the end I was shattered, so I don’t know if I would survive that long. The show ended with everybody feeling particularly ill as a powerful red strobe light was left on for far too long. Still, I will snap up the chance to see them again if they pop by again.
(NOTE: I have seen hundreds of bands live since this show, yet this is probably the most sickening and intense strobe light that I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. It was blasted red light at us for at least a minute, backed with deafening instrumental feedback to end the show. And yes, I said “pleasure”).